By Kathryn Watson | Watchdog.org, Virginia Bureau
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As if Virginians haven’t had enough bad news lately, another quarter of a million people in the commonwealth will likely lose their health insurance plans by the end of the year.
Virginia’s Health Insurance Reform Commission learned Wednesday that 250,000 Virginians will receive notices their health insurance plans are being canceled as a result of the Affordable Care Act. That’s in addition to the thousands of Virginians who had already been notified over the last year their plans are no longer compliant with President Obama’s signature health care law.
“I am deeply concerned that, at a time when families are already struggling to make ends meet, another 250,000 policy holders will have to trim their budgets back even further,” Republican Delegate and Commission Chairman Kathy Byron said in a statement.
Of course, those who lose their health care plans can purchase another that complies with the ACA — but the likelihood is they’ll pay higher premiums each month.
The Manhattan Institute, a think tank that studies health care issues among others, found that older men (around age 64) are the only general group benefitting from lower rates than before because of the ACA. Young men (around age 27) are suffering the most from higher premiums as a result of Obamacare — an average 67 percent monthly increase.
The announcement is certainly timely ammunition for Ed Gillespie, the Republican who is running to replace U.S. Senator Mark Warner and has already been campaigning on Warner’s vote for Obamacare. The latest Christopher Newport University poll shows Warner with a 22-point lead over Gillespie.
“Because Mark Warner worked to pass Obamacare, 250,000 Virginians are losing the health insurance they liked, with thousands getting hit with huge out of pocket cost increases while unable to see the doctors they trust,” Gillespie said in a statement to Watchdog.org.
Warner’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate for Senate, said this latest news is just part of a bigger problem.
“These latest projections are just more evidence that Obamacare took healthcare policy even further in the wrong direction,” said Nicholas Cote, a spokesman for the Sarvis campaign, in an email. “But if we’re going to get serious about real health care reform, we need to not only repeal Obamacare but the century of bad regulations at both the federal and state level supported by both Democrats and Republicans. Obamacare wasn’t the first government policy to impose health insurance mandates. Virginia itself has more mandates on health insurance than the national average.”
Alana Austin with NBC-29 in Charlottesville reported the story first.